This post has been inevitable. As the amount of work we took on during the winter has grown, I have also realised that writing about it in a blog post will be an ever growing task. It however turned out to be a good reminder of how much work we have accomplished during the winter and, more importantly, how much better a boat we now have!

Starting at the bow, and moving aft I will run through the items we’ve accomplished. They range from small to very big.

Refurbishment of the chain locker

We’ve had a problem with a leaky bulkhead separating the chain locker from the forward cabin. There are in fact two bulkheads separating the chain storage from the v-berth, but the forwardmost one has been in a sad state since we got the boat.

This job involved grinding and chipping away about 80% of the old bulkhead – a tough task as it was glassed in place. Afterwards, the entire chain locker was sanded. A new bulkhead was cut out of marine grade plywood and wedged in place where the cutout was made. The new bulkhead was glassed in place with epoxy and biaxial glass fibre matting. Afterwards, the entire area was painted with two coats of International Danboline paint in glossy white. Spiffy!

Estimated time? About three days.

Refit of head compartment and installation of a holding tank

This was the biggest job of the winter and also the one highest on the list of priorities. I won’t go into details – you’ll find plenty of them in the four related blog posts, but I can safely say this has been one of the most fun – and surprisingly straightforward jobs I’ve undertaken on the boat. At its completion, after about ten days of work, we now have a brand new heads compartment with a 70 litre, custom-made, stainless steel, fully concealed holding tank. It is fitted with a deck fitting, optional drain under the water line and a manual bypass, should you want to flush straight overboard.

The heads compartment itself got a refresh with a reconfigured cabinet in glossy white. Fresh!

Refurbished salon panels

This was the earliest job we got through. It involved sanding and prepping the surfaces of the outer and inner cabinet walls in the salon. We decided to brighten the space up further with a glossy, white paint, to make it feel bigger. This also involved sanding and painting the interior walls of the hull, inside the cabinets.
We also fitted a pair of additional reading lights from Båtsystem, which added some needed light to the corners of the salon, where you most often sit and read.
Another piece of decoration added is a new Wempe thermometer and hygrometer in chrome with a white dial. Beautiful!
This work took about four days to complete.

Refurbished surfaces in the galley

The refit of the galley was the biggest project of last years winter refit. For this year we were left with the task to refurbish all surfaces (wood and hull interior) in the galley area. This involved plenty of sanding, fairing, painting and varnishing. We faired over plenty of old screw holes and applied a couple of coats of International Goldspar Satin varnish to the mahogany veneer.
The hull interior in the galley cabinet received a couple of coats of Hempels multicoat, our favourite interior hull paint – in semigloss white. The cabinet walls adjacent to the stove was clad in sheets of aluminium, to supply a heat shield for the fridge and to provide some stain protection. This work took about four days to complete.

Reconfiguration of DC distribution panel

This was one of this year’s bonus projects. It sprung out of an idea I got in December when I stumbled across the Schaeffer AG website. They are a company from whom you can order custom-made front panels to use for instrumentation or similar applications. I played around with their CAD-software over a period of many nights and realised I had the optimal solution for reconfiguring our DC-panel. The panel was short of switches for upcoming gear which we needed to install, and I was hesitant to just add cheap-looking off-the-shelf panels.

So this job turned into one of the most gratifying, but also time-consuming ones thus far. It involved stripping out the old panel. Designing, ordering and building the new panel using the panel from Schaeffer in Germany, Wema-tank and DC gauges and switches and circuit-breakers ordered from China. Wiring it together required an insane amount of crimping and cutting cables, but the result speaks for itself. A truly unique and bespoke DC-panel with a retro-style look. Gorgeous! Time in total? Probably about 5-8 days of intense work. Lead time from start to finish has been about five months. There’ll be a separate blog post about this job in the near future.

Expanded Nav-panel

As we had intended to install a new VHF and AIS Transponder, I took the chance to expand the nav station with a dedicated panel for flush-mounting the VHF and concealing the AIS transponder and NMEA and Seatalk multiplexer behind it. I also moved the NASA BM-1 battery monitor from its hidden location up to this panel, for ease of access.
This was a minor job which meant cutting a wooden panel and mounting some new equipment. The wood I used was actually a piece of the former galley countertop which we ripped out last winter.

New gear installed

We’ve done some shopping at boat fairs and chandlery sales and have added and replaced some essential equipment onboard:

  • Icom M423G VHF
  • Amec Camino 108S AIS Class B Transponder
  • Victron Energy 800W Pure Sine Wave Inverter
  • Gobius 4 Holding Tank gauge
  • Fusion 4″ Cockpit Speakers

Conclusion

This winters projects have taken an enormous amount of time to complete. I have spent maybe three out of every four weekends at the boat. Work was made easier as the first part of the winter was relatively mild. Late February, March and early April however was unusually cold with temperatures reaching as low as minus 20. Of course we have onboard heating which makes it comfortable to work indoors but it does require some planning when it comes to glassing or painting.

We now look forward to a summer of intense sailing and living onboard!